Capricorn, Xmas, and B-Sides

The picture is an album cover. The date for the image’s display was 12-25: Xmas. The humorous angle is that it’s Jimmy Buffett’s birthday.

On that Xmas day, after two days in Austin with family, I was headed to the coast. Before Xmas, I’d been scouring thrift shops, Goodwill, Salvation Army location, looking for that very album cover. The cover art is fairly non-remarkable even by the standards of its time. However, as collections of songs go, it was a one of the best and much of that album has spanned the artist’s career. From a similar time frame, there’s much better art on the album cover for “Living and Dying in 3/4 Time.”

Part of the premise is that the album covers from a bygone era are stand-alone art, in and of, themselves.

Then, too, I’ve heard Buffett, from the stage, claim that Margaritaville — his anthem — was conceived in Texas, alternately, San Antonio, Austin, but the best bet, from a notoriously unreliable source? San Marcos, “Home of the SWT Bobcats.” Ask Mac the Aura Guy about that. I’m never sure what stories are true. Mac, he’s another Capricorn.

    Two “albums” although, I never owned any REK as vinyl, are current sound tracks to my life, REK’s “#2 Live from the diner,” and the current obsession, Jimmy Buffet’s “A1A.”

In the dark and distant past, Jimmy Buffet released a B-Side, the back of a 45, intended for juke box play only, “Why don’t we get drunk and screw?”

Bit of a gimmick song, but at the time, Buffet’s career was straddling traditional Nashville, and yearning for something different. In proper Cap fashion, I’d suggest it was a joke, and not unlike myself, one that spun out of control and into its own right. “Why don’t we get drunk and screw,” became a cult classic and a jukebox wonder.

I’ve got two Buffet “finds” that were good. One was the “complete collection on CD,” a four CD set with all of his music collected and separated into beaches, ballads, bars, and boats. I ripped it all and stuck it on a thumb drive, plugged that into the rent car. Most rent cars have USB audio jack, now days.

Pouring through various shops, my favorite being Half-Price Books, I’ve been looking for these albums. That one picture was from the Half-Price Books, just north of North Star. Good store. The best Half-Price Books are in Austin, with one nod to the huge store in Dallas, on NW Highway. The newer Austin location, by DPS? Great selection, and a huge store, I think, about the size of a regular grocery store. I was always fond of Austin’s S. Lamar location, but that was as much a proximity to home issue as anything else. Trailer park, South Austin, back in the day when trailers were so uncool?

So far, Buffett’s “Son of Sailor” is the most popular album cover I can find. Right behind it is “You had to be there,” an early double-live album. Other than that? Slim Pickens these days.

A comment by San Marcos resident and recording star, Teri Hendrix, from the stage, made me think about soundtracks for life. REK’s “#2 (live)” and Jimmy Buffett’s “A1A” are both high on my list.

The enduring popularity of B-Sides is what captured my attention. The days of the jukebox are gone and almost forgotten. That album, its cover, A1A? One of the least inspiring of all the album covers I’ve got as art. Still, as a musical notation? One of the most enduring collection of songs that serve as a sound track to my life.

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